You’ll never have dense, dry, tasteless meatloaf again! The leftovers from this recipe are fantastic in sandwiches or over pasta. You can use jarred roasted red bell peppers or even pimentos in the filling and sauce. Polenta, rice, or mashed potatoes make great sides.
Servings 8 -10 (leftovers, yay!)
FOR THE MEATLOAF
- 1 1/2 lb. ground meat chuck, pork, turkey, etc.
- 1/2 cup shallot or Vidalia onion chopped
- 1/2 cup roasted red bell pepper peeled and chopped
- 1 cup bread crumbs more if needed
- 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese plus more for coating
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp. Asian fish sauce optional
- 2 tbsp. tomato sauce (more if needed, plus more for coating—or use ketchup if you must)
- 1 tbsp. olive oil only if you’re using ground chicken or turkey
- 2 tbsp. parsley minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
FOR THE SAUCE
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 green bell pepper sliced
- 1 roasted red bell pepper sliced
- 1 Vidalia onion sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic finely minced
- 1 28- oz. can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup of tomato sauce
- 2 tbsp. rice vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp. Splenda or sugar
- Salt & Pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350°. Add all ingredients for the meatloaf to a large mixing bowl (with the exception of the coatings). I usually add 2 large pinches of salt and several grinds of black pepper, but you can adjust that to your own taste. Work the ingredients through the meat mixture just enough to incorporate (it doesn’t matter if ingredients aren’t distributed uniformly. Check the consistency of your mixture: you want to be able to form it into a loaf without having it fall apart, but you don’t want it to be too dry. If the mixture is too wet and falling apart, add an additional 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs. If the mixture is too dry, add another tbsp. of tomato sauce (more if needed).
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Set a baking rack onto the foil and coat generously with cooking spray. Form the meat mixture into a loaf, making sure that it’s roughly the same thickness throughout for even cooking. Rub on the tomato sauce and sprinkle with Romano cheese. Sprinkle lightly with salt and fresh-ground pepper.
Tent some aluminum foil over the meatloaf: I sometimes lay 2 pieces of foil over each other and fold one side of the long ends over several times. This is the “spine” of the tent. The foil doesn’t need to cover the meatloaf tightly: just tuck the open ends down toward the baking rack. Place the meatloaf in the oven.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the peppers, onions, and garlic. Sauté until soft and translucent, 6-8 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce, stir to combine. Sprinkle with the vinegar and sugar or Splenda; stir. Bring almost to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching. Simmer for 45 minutes.
Check the meatloaf after an hour with an instant-read thermometer: the meatloaf needs to be 160° throughout. Remove the foil. At this point, you can spoon some of the sauce on top of the meat loaf if you’d like. Continue baking as needed.
Remove the meatloaf from the oven and rest for 10 minutes. Slice thickly and serve with the sauce. Enjoy!